Female Furies #4
Big Barda makes a fateful decision in Female Furies #4, by writer Cecil Castellucci, artist Adrian Melo, colors by HI-FI, and letter Sal Cipriano. This issue tells the story of the escape of Scott Free and Barda’s role in it but gives some extra backstory to the whole thing.
In a flashback, it’s revealed that Heggra gave Granny Goodness her book of bloodlines, which Darkseid believes would help him get the Anti-Life Equation before she dies. A little after getting the book, Granny is witness to the exchange of Orion, Darkseid’s son, and Scott Free. Darkseid gives her custody of Scott. In the present, Barda confronts Scott as he’s about to escape and he reveals to her that he’s always known she had good in her, since their days together in Granny’s orphanage. She lets him escape, taking on a few soldiers before they are called off to a more significant threat. Barda is punished and tries to appeal it, but as a woman on Apokolips, she has no recourse. After being punished, she goes to Willik, and he agrees to help her, even train her, but Barda lets him know in no uncertain terms she won’t be abused. He reveals that he knows her role in the cover of Steppenwolf’s son’s death, but instead of acquiescing to his advances, she chooses to confess. Darkseid is impressed and allows Barda to lead the Furies, but a fight with Lashina goads her into escaping, going to Scott on Earth. Lashina, however, foresaw this and plants a tracker on her. The Furies prepare to go and retrieve their wayward and leader and eliminate Scott Free.
This issue only lightly plays into the continuing narrative of the way women are treated in society, but packs in a lot more plot and set-up than earlier issues. One interesting point is that the escape of Scott Free invalidated the treaty between New Genesis and Apokolips… and this escape is all part of Darkseid’s plan. This gives some context to an event that is very familiar to readers, an event that is always looked upon as a triumph of free will and casts it in a new light. It doesn’t take away from the what readers know about Scott and Barda, their determination and wherewithal in breaking the chains of Apokolips, it just puts it into the perspective of the more significant conflict between New Genesis and Apokolips and in that respect makes a lot of sense.
Another interesting little nugget is that Granny has been hiding something from Darkseid all of this time, something that he would desperately want. It makes sense in the way the series has been building Granny- she’s a no-nonsense soldier, but she also understands the place that women have on Apokolips and knows that she needs something extra to keep her place in the world. It will be nice to see where Castellucci is taking this particular plot element.
Adriana Melo’s art is excellent, as always. She still uses the heavy, Kirby-esque dark lines to give readers a classic look for the Apokolips sequences, but other than that, her style is entirely different from Kirby’s. She’s still able to capture the bombast and big emotion that makes Kirby’s work so much fun, but she’s doing it in her own way.
Female Furies #4 opens the series up as it reaches its second half. Castellucci is able to fit in her narrative about how women are treated in society while giving the book a new place to go. This issue introduces several new elements to the plot, ones that will be very interesting to see play out as the book heads toward its conclusion. Adriana Melo’s art seems to get better with every issue. There’s a lot to love about this book.